Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Buster Keaton Story is the sublimely inaccurate life story of immortal film comedian Buster Keaton, played by Donald O'Connor. The film begins with young Buster appearing in his parents' circus acrobatic act (the real Keatons never appeared in a circus, but were vaudevillians instead). After Buster's dad dies (an event that actually occurred when Keaton was in his 30s and already a star), the boy strikes out on his own. He makes it into silent films as a top slapstick comic (this much is accurate), but his private life is complicated by two loves, a "sweet" girl (Ann Blyth) and a wealthy temptress (Rhonda Fleming) (Buster was married three times, but not to either one of the ladies depicted in this film). When talkies come in, Buster is browbeaten by autocratic director Peter Lorre (all of Keaton's talkies were directed by Eddie Sedgwick, one of his best friends) and finds himself unable to handle dialogue (no comment). He turns to drink (true) and destroys himself in Hollywood (partly true). But through the love of good girl Ann Blyth, Buster makes a comeback in vaudeville, and finally decides to get married and settle down for the first time in his life (Buster did tour in vaudeville with wife Eleanor Norris, who was wife number three and whom he met nine years after the advent of talkies). The nicest thing about The Buster Keaton Story was that the amount Paramount paid Keaton for permission to film his "life story" ($50,000) was large enough for Buster to remain financially solvent for the rest of his life.
vaudeville, entertainer, comeback, comedian, filmmaker, life, wife, fame, rise-to-fame, father, love, romance, temptress, acrobatics